HEALTH & WELLNESS
Hot Shower or Cold Shower?
We all know that taking a shower every day doesn’t just feel good but is also good for health.
By keeping our bodies clean, we protect ourselves from germs that could make us sick leaving us weak. But did you know that it’s not just taking a shower but also the temperature of the water that affects our health?
Let’s take a closer look at cold showers and hot showers and how each affects the body. Once we have a better idea, we can each decide for ourselves what kind of shower we prefer. We might even decide that a cold shower works better at some times and a hot shower at others.
Everything you need to know about cold showers
Here are the main benefits of taking a cold shower:
- Cold showers wake you up. Taking a cold shower first thing in the morning gets your heart pumping as the blood rushes through the body in an attempt to keep it warm. The increased blood circulation wakes up not only your muscles but also your brain making you more alert. What better way to start your day than feeling fresh and alert?
- Cold showers help you to lose weight. The body has brown fat that helps keep it warm and white fat which is the stored extra calories that we consume. Now the brown fat is good and the white fat is what we are always trying to get rid of. When you take a cold shower, the brown fat gets activated and the body burns it off to generate heat. As levels of brown fat go down in the body, the white fat gets converted to brown fat and starts getting burnt for heat generation. Have a cold shower regularly and you will start burning away all the extra white fat.
- Cold shower can cause hardening of the body. A regular dose of cold every day trains the body to start adapting faster to changes in the inside and outside environment. This ability to adapt also increases resilience to stress making us calmer and better able to deal with stressful situations.
- Cold showers speed up muscle recovery. After a strenuous workout, a cold shower can help to sooth muscles, and prevent the onset of delayed soreness. The increased blood circulation to the muscles will also help them recover faster.
- Cold showers boost your immunity. Many of the benefits of cold showers come from their ability to increase blood circulation. One main benefit of a better circulation is better immunity against diseases.
As with everything, even cold showers have their disadvantages:
- Cold showers are uncomfortable. For the majority of people getting into a shower with a temperature less than that of the body can be very unpleasant and not something you want to force yourself to do when you are already having a rough day.
- Cold showers might not always be effective for pain relief. Sometimes a cold shower just doesn’t help muscular pain – and might even make your muscles feel stiffer.
- Cold showers are not great for blocked sinuses. If you have a cold and everything is clogged up a cold shower won’t offer you much relief.
What is the best temperature to take a cold shower?
Studies conducted showed that the maximum benefits for a cold shower could be got when the temperature of the water is about 10-15°C (50-59°F). But you don’t have to plunge into the cold water right away. A more gradual approach can work well and by reducing the temperature of the water a little each day, your body gets conditioned and can tolerate the cold temperature better.
Everything you need to know about hot showers
Here are the benefits of taking a warm shower:
- Hot showers can warm you up fast. If you have been out in the cold and your body is at risk of hypothermia, a hot shower can save your life. Even if it is not an extreme situation but you are very cold, jumping into a warm to hot water shower can raise your body temperature quickly.
- Hot showers are great when you have a bad cold and feeling all stuffy. The steam in the shower can help to clear sinuses giving you relief from a blocked nose.
- Hot shower can loosen stiff muscles. If you have slept in a bad position or just had a long drive and your muscles are all stiff and aching, then a hot shower will relax your muscles and ease the pain.
- Hot showers can clean out pores. The pores on out skin expand when we take a hot shower and this is a great time to use an exfoliating scrub and clean out your pores. Following this up with a bit of cold water can help to seal the pores preventing further dirt from getting in.
- A hot shower an hour before bedtime can help you fall asleep faster. As the body gradually cools down levels of the sleep hormone melatonin start to rise in the body making us feel sleepy.
Hot showers, however, do come with a few disadvantages:
- Hot showers dehydrate you. Because we sweat a lot while in a hot shower, we lose a lot of water and are left dehydrated and feeling very thirsty after a hot shower.
- Hot showers strip your skin of its natural oils leaving is feeling dry, itchy and sensitive.
- Hot showers can make skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis worse by making skin dry and sensitive.
What is the best temperature to take a hot shower?
We all know that if the water is too hot, we will get burned, but did you know that water doesn’t have to be boiling hot to harm you? Water should not exceed a temperature of 43-46°C (110-115°F) when taking a hot shower. If the temperature of your water goes much higher than this, your skin will start to burn and get red and painful.
Showers are great; they keep us clean and refresh us after a long day. Both cold showers and hot showers have their benefit and disadvantages. We think that cold showers do a lot more good than hot showers but sometimes the situation just might call for a warm, relaxing shower.